Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Asian Mega-Deltas Initiative builds learning alliance to address climate change issues in the Mekong Delta

To form a learning alliance that has an interest to address climate-related issues in the Mekong Delta of Cambodia, the CGIAR Initiative on Securing the Food Systems of Asian Mega-Deltas for Climate and Livelihood Resilience (AMD) conducted a workshop to build a network of diverse stakeholders in the provinces of Takeo and Prey Veng in Cambodia. 

Providing the core members of the learning alliance, the workshop was attended by various stakeholders representing: government agencies, specifically focused on extension, water resources, and commerce; farmer groups and cooperatives, including crop, aquaculture, and livestock sectors; private sector, specifically service providers, traders and input suppliers; and the AMD Initiative team, specifically the experts from International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and WorldFish.

In her workshop introduction, Dr. Rica Joy Flor, scientist in IRRI Cambodia, shared that the activity aimed to understand the main production constraints due to climate change impacts and to identify opportunities to address these problems. She emphasized that through this exercise, the team can “assess the stakeholders in the province who are relevant for addressing the problems.”

Using the Problem Tree method, the participants identified the main production constraints due to climate impacts that they have experienced. From the problems identified, the participants picked the priority concerns they want to address through the learning alliance. Problems outlined were on pest and disease, lack of irrigation, expensive and low quality inputs and lack of market while opportunities mostly focused on providing training and capacity building (both for farmers and agri-extension workers), as well as creating more linkages with the different stakeholders.  

In the stakeholder assessment exercise, different stakeholders were identified by the participants and were organized by category, such as 1) policy stakeholders, 2) farmers and farmer groups, 3) stakeholders providing support services, and 4) extension staff and researchers. As expected, farmer group participants identified the most number of stakeholders under the farmers and cooperatives category while private sector participants mostly identified those providing support services. Using network mapping, the participants were able to understand the linkages of and between stakeholders in terms of knowledge, finance, and services.

With the aid of GIS maps, a landscape assessment activity was also done to identify the cropping systems in the area. Examples of potential technologies or interventions to be implemented under the AMD Initiative were also introduced. These include diversified cropping systems, good agronomic practices, rice-fish systems, and direct seeded systems.

For the next steps, the participants recommended to invite those not included in the first event to the succeeding learning alliance meetings for them to provide inputs and contribute to the discussion. The importance of looking at value chains and working closely with the private sector was also mentioned.  

In her closing remarks, Dr. Flor shared her optimism that “the learning alliance will work together for the next three years (and potentially beyond) to exchange information and learnings in relation to the identified opportunities.”

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